National Democratic Institute

  www.ndi.org
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National Democratic Institute Reviews

Updated August 25, 2014
Updated August 25, 2014
44 Reviews

3.1
44 Reviews
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Kenneth Wollack
31 Ratings

9 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Bureaucracy for a good cause.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Program Manager  in  Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Program Manager in Washington, DC

    I have been working at National Democratic Institute full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great people who mostly mean well.
    Awesome benefits.
    Nice plants in the office.
    Free coffee.

    Cons

    All encompassing bureaucracy makes it impossible to get things done.
    Way too many long term "time serving" employees.
    Terrible vending machines.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay attention to junior employees.
    Stop empire building.
    Improve morale. Friday Fun days just don't cut it.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    No emphasis on junior staff

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Program Assistant  in  Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Program Assistant in Washington, DC

    I have been working at National Democratic Institute full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    NDI does interesting work that gives you access to a lot of fascinating international development opportunities.

    Cons

    There is never turnover in the management and senior staff but they see and treat the junior staff as replceable.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Respect your employees more and pay them better.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Eh... It's a good place to be while you are looking for a real job

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Project Assistant  in  Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Project Assistant in Washington, DC

    I worked at National Democratic Institute full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    The organizations does some interesting work, you have access to events at think tanks and at NDI itself.

    Depending on your team, you will meet some great people.
    It's an office setting so it's a lot less stressful than some other jobs you could be doing in the meantime.

    Cons

    The pay! Most project assistants have Masters degrees, so it is ridiculous how little you get paid.
    A lot of people are lured in by the prospect of moving up, but you need a lucky break for that to happen. The truth is that most project assistants leave for better pay (i.e. living wages).

    People at the lower levels don't really get to do work that they are more than capable of doing. A lot of the hire-ups don't have a background in the country/regions they are directing. It falls on contractors, and project assistants with real regional expertise to pick up the slack.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Project Assistant salaries should at least be bumped to 15 dollars an hour... so we can live!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Reputable organization but a lot of redundant & extraneous positions

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Program Officer  in  Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Program Officer in Washington, DC

    I have been working at National Democratic Institute full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    -very structured and organized, there's a team or department dedicated to every aspect of project management so unlike some of the small shops out there, you don't have to do everything beyond your job description
    -more non-partisan (seemingly) than it's sister organization IRI, which wears the Republican party on its sleeve
    -flexible work hours
    -paid internships
    -beautiful office

    Cons

    -pay not competitive with other democracy-promoting organizations, be prepared to take a pay cut
    -way too many (and unnecessary) positions for a given program team--too many job titles whose responsibilities overlap which blurs the lines of accountability and authority; this also makes moving up in the organization misleading because though you may get a promotion, it's almost in name only because you'll have 4 or 5 other positions above you you must go through before even being considered a senior staff member
    -offices provided only for directors, leaving other senior staff to work on desk stations like assistants

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    get rid of some of the extraneous job titles and positions

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Awesome mission, great projects, but not necessarily a good place to build a career.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I have been working at National Democratic Institute

    Pros

    NDI works at the intersection of politics and international development. If you are an activist and believe in helping build democratic institutions, there is no place that does it better. Great place to work for 2-3 years if you're just out of college.

    Cons

    The downside is that, if you are working at headquarters and your job title doesn't include the word "director," you may find a lot of frustration and not much opportunity for growth or advancement--especially once you've mastered your position. Project managers have very little authority on their projects.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    NDI has stellar and dedicated employees in headquarters who often leave out of frustration. The frequency of exceptions to institutional policies results in no policies at all, leaving mid-level staff without the tools to do their jobs.

    Doesn't Recommend
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Very "Top-Down"

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Resident Senior Program Assistant  in  Asia (Philippines)
    Former Employee - Resident Senior Program Assistant in Asia (Philippines)

    I worked at National Democratic Institute full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    NDI is on the forefront of global democracy and governance oriented development. As such, colleagues bring an extensive breadth of experience to the table.
    Working on election based programming is exciting and fast paced
    Great salary and benefits (for a non-profit job)

    Cons

    Major disconnect between HQ and field offices. The work environment in field offices will of course vary from country to country. However, due to the major disconnect, DC is completely clueless when things are going poorly. For instance, the entire local staff of my office is currently looking for new jobs due to poor management by both the foreign director and the high level local staff. DC has no idea... and doesn't seem to care. I assume this largely because high level international staff are rarely reprimanded or demoted no matter how incompetent they are. Moreover, the structure of the organization is extremely "top-down" - meaning policy and programs are determined in DC with little to no input by the local staff (who obviously know a hell of a lot more about the situation in their countries). Considering NDI HQ treats local field staff as utterly expendable it's no wonder they have little awareness of how things actually operate on the ground.

    Otherwise, HR in DC is a mess. I've had my timesheet "lost" several times which results in getting paid weeks late. Of course if you're a few days late turning it in they complain aggressively, but make no apologies when you're left scrambling to cover your rent because they screwed up your payment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hmmm, well mainly don't promote extremely jaded expat professionals into management director positions. If they don't respect the country or work they're doing it reflects poorly on the organization as a whole.

    Start engaging your local staff in program design. Believe it or not they know more about their countries than you do.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    It's ok

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at National Democratic Institute full-time

    Pros

    Great mission, good people (in general) and ok work atmosphere

    Cons

    Some program managers don't know how to manage staff or their programs, they just delegate tasks. Project assistants and entry-level staff seem to have a lot more work to do than their managers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Provide more positive feedback. Allow more room for creativity among your staff. Employees should have higher salaries.

    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Good friends and relationships with difficulty to progress

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Regiona Trainer  in  Belgrade (Serbia)
    Former Employee - Regiona Trainer in Belgrade (Serbia)

    I worked at National Democratic Institute part-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Interesting job, lot of places to visit, share experience with people, opportunity to challenge your opinions. Having a chance to meet a lot of people and learn from them.

    Cons

    Unclear administrative work, difficulty to understand promotion criteria with people who are not native Americans.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More focus on spending resources on directly reaching to people and grass root politics, instead of drowning in lot of unnecessary paper work. Harder conditions for every employee which is not native American.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Great mission and execution, employees are overworked and under-appreciated

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at National Democratic Institute

    Pros

    NDI implements wonderful D+G programs worldwide. Working at NDI gives one a sense that they are actually making a different in the stakeholders life. Fascinating work and a great mission to improve the democratic systems of transitioning countries. Good training within the organization.

    Cons

    Entry-level workers are underpaid and could receive more elsewhere doing the same job. Expected to work long hours without remuneration, some of the programmatic employees take their work too seriously and create more stress than is needed. Worked place is divided among entry-level, mid-level and upper level, with the lowest workers not always being treated with the respect they deserve. There also seems to be a high rate of turnover among the entry-level professionals.

    Recommends
    Disapproves of CEO

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